Police Minister Bheki Cele has expressed shock and disgust at the vandalism and arson of State infrastructure by a group of farmers during a demonstration at the Senekal Magistrate Court on Wednesday.
The events unfolded during a protest by farmers, who gathered outside the court, demanding justice for murdered farm manager, Brandon Horner.
Two suspects appeared in court on Tuesday for the brutal killing of the 21-year-old.
Police reports indicate that following the brief court appearance, around 100 demonstrators, among them armed farmers, stormed into the court building, demanding the suspects be handed over to them.
This violent act resulted in the vandalism of court property, and a police vehicle was also overturned and set alight.
Police had to use teargas to disperse the violent group.
“Minister Cele is adamant that such criminal behaviour will never be tolerated. He has called on police to act swiftly and arrest those responsible.
“While we all condemn the gruesome killing of this young man in Paul Roux, absolutely no one has the right to take the law into their own hands – no matter what the situation is. This type of lawlessness can’t be justified or taken lightly,” said Cele.
The Minister questioned the demonstrators’ motives for turning their anger towards the police.
“There is no logic when these protestors burn a police van, which is the same resource that is meant to assist them. It is also baffling why the anger of this community is being directed towards the police, when arrests have been made by the police and the suspects are before the courts,” said the Minister.
Cele reminded South Africans that the right to peaceful protest is part of any democratic society and is enshrined in our Constitution.
“However, the right to protest is not absolute and it comes with responsibilities,” the Minister said.